The death of the dragon and Beowulf close the epic hero cycle that started when Grendel began his ravishment of the great hall Heorot. Beowulf never met a monster he couldn't kill, but the cost for the dragon's life is much too high, leaving his warriors to wonder why he didn't pick a younger man to face this one. The desertion of the thanes is indicative of the crumbling of the Anglo-Saxon way of life. Though Beowulf leaves the kingdom in Wiglaf's hands, there are hints that this is the end for Geatland. Too much of the heroic code has crumbled for Wiglaf's kingdom to succeed.